As constituents will know, I have taken a keen and active interest in the Darley Abbey Bridge since its closure last year and have been working hard to facilitate a swift conclusion to the inconvenience its closure has created for the local community.
Yesterday - the 31st of July – I chaired my most recent round of meetings between businesses, local residents and Derby City Council’s Head of Engineering Lincoln Smithers and Group Engineer Phill Massey. This was to ensure constituents were fully up to date with City Council’s progress and to provide the opportunity for questions to be posed to officers.
It is clear from my discussions with local businesses, especially those from the Darley Abbey Mill estate, that a permanent, more aesthetically appropriate solution would be much preferred to the temporary footbridge. Furthermore, I know residents want assurances that there will be no delays in implementing the impending recommendations for the bridge that will be submitted to the council in the Autumn.
Connectivity is vital for our communities, it is important for employment opportunities and when many families delicately balance school runs, bus timetables and commutes it is essential that certainty in the long-term plans for the bridge is achieved. I have heard first hand from many constituents about how inconvenient the closure has become, and it is important in my mind that those responsible for the bridge hear this as well at meetings such as those held last night.
Furthermore, the bridge as part of the wider Darley Abbey Mills site is an important piece of Derby’s heritage and I think every effort to protect this part of the fabric of our city should be made. We are proud of our place in the story of the Industrial Revolution and the site is a fantastic example of how a space almost two-hundred and fifty years old, rich with history, can be repurposed and cherished in the twenty-first century. This is why I wrote to the Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) last year to make them aware of the deterioration of the bridge and will again once I am made aware of the costing for specific proposals.
In the meantime, following the meetings I have again written to my colleague Richard Holden MP Minister for Roads to ask for an update on his department’s engagement with Derby City Council on this matter, and with a request for further support. I commit to keeping my ministerial colleagues at the Department for Transport, DCMS and the Treasury engaged with this issue to ensure, where Government can help, they contribute to hopefully the swift reopening of the bridge.
As ever, if you wish to raise your concerns with me regarding this topic, or any other local matter I always welcome constituents to write to me at email@example.com